XP Values – The Forgotten Agile Guidance!

| By Mike Hall in Agile, Technical Practices | 0 Comments

When you hear the term “extreme programming”, what do you think of? Coding while skydiving at 15,000 feet? Bug-fixing while scaling the north face of Kilimanjaro? Refactoring while swimming with sharks at the Great Barrier Reef?

For tech nerds like me, we probably think of the wealth of technical practices espoused by this Agile method. These technical practices include stories, pair programming, slack, continuous integration, test-first, and others. Extreme Programing (XP) practices are typically used within a Scrum or Kanban team to help ensure high levels of software quality and continuous integration.

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Stop Wasting $$$ Building So Much Crap!

| By Reese Schmit in Agile, Lean, Product Owner | 0 Comments

 

So many teams have a list of projects laid out on a roadmap sometimes months or years out, without a clear idea of how success is measured. Are they being measured based on the number of projects completed? Getting them done “on time”? High quality? Team utilization? Are any of these things helping meet the company objectives?

When did we stop experimenting and start believing we were always right?

Why are we spending so much money building things that may or may not have any real value? How are we even determining what we build?

We have spent years calling ourselves Lean or Agile, as we optimize the delivery of the highest priority items in our backlogs. That is making the big assumption that we’re building the right things. What we are probably doing, though, is building the wrong things, faster.

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How To Improve Cross-Functional Collaboration

| By Reese Schmit in Agile | 2 Comments

 

Cross-functional teams are at the heart of Agile development. What is a cross-functional team? It’s generally defined as a group of experts in their individual functional areas working towards a common goal. Most of the “teams” I’ve come across fit this definition. We have everyone needed to deliver the product increment from end-to-end, so what’s the problem?

While we may have all the people, if they can’t all do the work and are unable to collaborate, we end up just creating a mini waterfall of handoffs inside the sprint between silos and specialties. Collaboration is at the heart of a truly agile team. So how do we tip the scales towards collaboration?

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How to Overcome Three Myths of Agile With Real Practices

| By Braz Brandt in Agile | 0 Comments

Image courtesy of GreekMythology.com

 

Myths teach us concepts through a narrative. For example, before we had scientific proof that the earth’s rotation caused our sunrises and sunsets, ancient civilizations believed the sun rose and fell because it was driven across the sky on a chariot.

Myths help explain things we don’t understand, which is why it’s not surprising that Agile has a few urban legends of its own. However, once you really understand and practice the methodology, the myths are quickly disproven.

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Is ScrumMaster Really A Full-time Job?

| By David Hawks in ScrumMaster | 2 Comments

Let me ask you this: If you had a team of five would you rather have 20% annual gain without adding another developer, or go hire and integrate a new developer every year to get a 20% productivity gain YoY?

If it was up to me, I’d go with option one and make sure that I invest in ScrumMasters. Too often I see the ScrumMaster role diminished and undervalued in organizations. Many leaders believe that the ScrumMaster role is part-time (can be combined with another role such as manager) or that one ScrumMaster can cover five teams. Perhaps it’s because of the wrong ways the role is implemented that’s causing confusion and bad decision-making around staffing the team.

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The User Story Needs A Remodel. Here’s Why

| By David Hawks in Agile, Process | 1 Comment

 

User Stories have become the standard way Agile teams capture requirements and were introduced almost 20 years ago as a part of XP (Extreme Programming). To put it in context, that’s four presidents and 14 iPhone models later. A lot has changed and it’s time we upgrade how we define and communicate work for teams.

Most teams are using user stories to document requirements and to align expectations between stakeholders and the delivery team. But building features with the goal of satisfying stakeholders is not good enough anymore. We should be focused on satisfying the customer.

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Agile And The Middle Manager Identity Crisis

| By David Hawks in Leadership | 0 Comments

When a company goes Agile, middle managers can feel a loss of identity.

 

Going Agile causes a lot of change within an organization, from a process, strategic, and cultural standpoint. A side effect of the Agile adoption is the confusion regarding roles and responsibilities, particularly for middle managers.

For managers, everyone is telling you what not to do, but no one is telling you what to do. You have been told that you can no longer:

  • Set the priorities for the team
  • Assign tasks or participate in planning
  • Estimate work
  • Attend Retrospectives or tell the team how to improve their processes

The good news is that with Agile, the tactical work is owned by the team. This frees up leadership to be more strategic.

In an Agile environment, here are four areas I see where management can make a huge impact:

  1. People Management
  2. Technical Excellence
  3. Organizational Improvement
  4. Business Alignment

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WEBINAR – Stop Sabotaging Your Agile Transformation

| By David Hawks in Agile Transformation | 0 Comments

An Agile adoption and transformation require a lot of change at all levels of a company. Most importantly, it’s more than a process change, a concept that can cause leaders to stumble as they move their teams forward. For leaders, it’s important to leave some traditional management ideas behind in favor of a more Agile leadership approach. In this webinar, David Hawks breaks down four major obstacles  leadership faces during an Agile adoption and transformation:

  1. Driving vs. Supporting
  2. Lack of Support to Improve
  3. Drowning in a Sea of Opportunity
  4. Focus on Output vs. Outcome

 

Webinar Recording

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Agile System Coaching: The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

| By Reese Schmit in Agile Coaching | 0 Comments

watch

 

Aristotle once made the observation the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” While mathematically this is untrue (the whole is equal), there is a sense of awe when watching independent parts work together towards one goal. Take the clock: When you look at the clock,  you see the moving hands denoting the passage of time. Lift the face and you see the many gears coupled together to make the hands move.  

As a Team Coach is driving individual teams towards empowerment and Agility, an organization will need to start optimizing beyond the team level, looking at how the products and structures within which the teams operate, interact. When organizations reach this point, the need for a System Coach arises.

This is the third post of our Agile Coaching series. Catch up on post one (Agile Team Coaches) and two (Agile Coaching Roles).

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